Wednesday morning I got up early and went into Cape Town in the taxi to buy my train ticket to Johannesburg for Friday. The taxi system is more like a minibus route that runs in and out of Cape Town from the various suburbs and townships. On board each minibus is a driver and a manager who collects fees, sorts everyone into seats, and rides with his head out the window shouting the route of the taxi to passersby who may want to catch a ride. The taxi stand in Cape Town is right next to the train station. I got out of the taxi and headed into the station and walked up and down both sides, unable to find the distance train ticket booth. I finally asked a security guard where it was and they said that I had to go back upstairs, through the taxi stand, and over to the other side of the train station. I made my way there, bought my ticket, and got back to the taxi stand only to discover that I had no idea which line I wanted to be in! Fortunately, another security guard was walking by, saw me looking confusedly at all of the options, and took pity on the stupid American. He asked where I was going and then pointed me in the right direction. The ride home was quick and easy. I got back just in time to take the shuttle up the hill with Em to UCT where I had a meeting with Professor Andre du Toit, one of Em's professors and a planner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). I explained to him that I was interested in the role of religion in the establishment, challenge, and end of Apartheid and then the establishment and implementation of the TRC. He explained that the planning of the TRC was really a secular process and that the religious element really only became prevalent once Archbishop Desmond Tutu was appointed to chair the commission. While not exactly hostile to the religious element, Dr. du Toit spent most of the conversation explaining why the introduction of religion into the process was problematic. He also introduced a distinction between official and unofficial TRCs, the dividing line being their sanction by secular government. I found this interesting because there are many people in the world who would find a religiously sanctioned, but not necessarily state sanctioned, TRC to be more official, or at least more legitimate, than a state sanctioned TRC. This notion of what is “official” and not is something I would like to pursue further. At the end of our meeting I thanked Dr. du Toit for his time and then went to find Emily down in the atrium. We walked back down the hill to get her car and then drove out to the International Center for Transitional Justice for a meeting with her boss, Alex Boraine. Dr. Boraine was the chief architect of the TRC and a former Methodist pastor. In our meeting he explained that he left the Methodist church when he felt it was not being prophetic enough in denouncing apartheid and so made his way into politics. Nevertheless, he maintains that his underlying motivation in working for justice and peace is theological and, at least in certain respects, religious. He cites Dietrich Bonhoeffer as one of his primary models in this. As a member of Parliament, Dr. Boraine denounced as blasphemous the invocation of God in support of Apartheid policies and legislation. In the formation of the TRC, Dr. Boraine maintains a distinction between Archbishop Tutu's stance and relation to the church and his own even as he has the utmost respect for Archbishop Tutu being able to maintain his prophetic voice along with his priestly and episcopal functions. Apparently, prior to the end of Apartheid, Dr. Boraine came to Boston and gave a lecture at Boston University but the lecture was protested by black Bostonians who assumed that as a white member of the South African Parliament he must have been pro-Apartheid. Dr. Boraine was most understanding, but I nevertheless suggested that perhaps arrangements could be made to have him back to BU and a more receptive audience might be arranged. After a brief discussion of the relationship between memory (and forgetting) and reconciliation, Dr. Boraine had to go to a lunch meeting but we agreed to remain in touch. It was a deep honor to spend even a short time with such a prophetic voice and an inextinguishably energetic practitioner of the gospel. Em and I had lunch and afternoon plans of our own so we hopped in the car and drove 45 minutes out of town to Stellenbosch, one of the premier wine regions of South Africa. It was the best day since I had arrived so it was perfect for wine tasting. We stopped for lunch at the Skilpadvlei winery and then went to our first tasting at the Asare winery. Em decided not to taste there since she was driving so I tasted five wines and did pretty well at discerning the various scents and flavors in the wines. I wasn't impressed with any of them enough to buy so we headed on and decided to stop at the Stellenbosch information center for some expert advice. Advice in hand, we headed out to the area we were told had the best views. We decided we would go to the Rainbow's End winery. We headed down the road which became a back road and then a dirt road and then potholes began appearing. After going through numerous potholes and bouncing over a number of rocks (Em's car's shocks got a good workout) we arrived at the winery only to discover that they only did tastings by appointment! Thankfully, the views that had been promised were indeed spectacular and we got to see a flock of guinea hens. After taking a few pictures, we headed back out and then stopped at the Le Pommier winery for our last tasting (it took us so long to get out to and back from the Rainbow's End winery that that's all we had time for!). Here we decided that we would have dessert in the restaurant after the tasting so Em decided to taste too. We each tried five wines and I decided to buy a couple of bottles to take home to the States (I imagine Dad is already reaching for the wine glasses!). We had a dessert of waffles with caramel and ice cream on the veranda and then headed back into town. I fell asleep for a good part of the way but awoke as we were driving through the township on the N2 back into Cape Town. We got home and got a call from Jenn that she needed us to pick her up and take her to pick up her new car. We did and discovered that it was exactly the same as Em's with the exception of the fact that Em's has a spoiler and leather seats! We drove back to Jenn's place to use the internet and chatted for a while before heading home to eat a snack and get some sleep.
More pics posted.